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Media school students broaden their horizons with London internships: IU News

Students in The Media School at IU Bloomington’s six-week Honors Summer in London program complete internships at prominent British media organizations each summer. Photo courtesy of James Shanahan

Indiana University Bloomington is known for providing students with a wide range of study abroad opportunities. In 2023, the university ranked second in the nation for the number of midterm study abroad programs and fourth for the total number of students who studied abroad.

Study abroad opportunities include the six-week Honors Summer in London program. Offered by The Media School at IU Bloomington, the program places students in internships at prominent British media organizations each summer. It provides a comprehensive curriculum in which students complete part-time internships, take courses on British and European media, and expand their cultural horizons through international travel.

Indiana University has been offering media students the opportunity to spend a summer in London for over 20 years, with the current program running since 2008.

Professor James Shanahan, founding dean of The Media School from 2015 to 2021, and assistant professor Minjeong Kang mentored students during a recent six-week program in London for Ernie Pyle Scholars, Media Scholars, and Academic Honors Program students in their third or fourth year of study.

Students and their supervisors enjoy a meal together in London as part of the Media School’s six-week Honors Summer in London programme. Photo courtesy of Cora Shaw

“For the right type of student, the program offers a combination of three things: academic growth, cultural expansion and professional experience,” Shanahan said. “Students may value these components in different proportions, but we believe the London experience is a memorable one for students as they enter their senior year.”

Third-year media advertising student Cora Shaw interned in the creative marketing department at W Hotels in London this summer, where she created social media content, helped plan Pride Month marketing campaigns, and conducted industry research.

“It was incredibly enriching,” Shaw said. “My career goal is to become a creative director in an advertising agency, a role where I can lead and inspire innovative campaigns. That internship at W Hotels was instrumental in introducing me to the world of in-house advertising, an area I had not previously explored.”

She added that the experience strengthened her passion for the marketing and advertising industry and broadened her perspective as she thought about possible career paths after graduation.

Shaw worked out of the offices of W Hotels in Soho, an entertainment center in London’s West End. The location provided her and other students with countless opportunities to venture outside the classroom.

“For me, one of the best things about London is the art,” she said.

One of Shaw’s favourite activities was visiting the National Gallery, which was just a three-minute walk from where she worked, and seeing world-class shows such as Moulin Rouge, Les Misérables and Wicked.

Jonathan Soco, a third-year journalism student at IU, completed a six-week internship at the International Business Times in London as part of a study abroad program. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Soco

Students and their guardians live in apartment-style apartments with shared kitchens and common areas. Living together helps students adjust to life in another country, and they often form close friendships and find opportunities to travel together outside the city.

Shaw said she and friends from the show took trips to Oxford, Bath and Brighton. They also spent a week making memories in Dublin.

“There was never a dull moment,” Shaw said. “The experience of studying abroad had a profound impact on my life, making me feel more independent and confident about living and working in a big city. The experience also strengthened my confidence in pursuing my future career, giving me a solid foundation and a clearer vision of my goals.”

Jonathan Soco, a third-year journalism student, interned at the International Business Times in London. He spent most of his internship — his first — creating content for the Times’ social media accounts, including TikTok and Instagram. He traveled to business conferences to record interviews and helped create trend-driven viral content.

Soco, who dreams of working in print or television journalism, said the internship gave him the feeling that he could work in a profession in the future where he can pursue his passion for storytelling.

“I want to use my experience in interviewing and writing scripts to strengthen my skills in the professional field of journalism,” Soco said. “I also hope to use the conferences I’ve attended as potential networking opportunities and a foundation for building strong connections in the future.”